World health organization

10 facts on polio eradication

A group of Afghan children proudly show off their finger-tips which have been marked with indelible ink. These markings indicate that they have been vaccinated against polio.
WHO/Sigrun Roesel

Unlike most diseases, polio can be completely eradicated

There are 3 strains of wild poliovirus, none of which can survive for long periods outside of the human body. If the virus cannot find an unvaccinated person to infect, it will die out. Type 2 wild poliovirus was eradicated in 1999 and cases of type 3 wild poliovirus haven’t been found anywhere in the world since 2012.

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